"I'd like a time trial helmet, made out of hair, please"

Guest Article: Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!

by / / 63 posts

We’ve remarked many times on the connection between the pained musician and the Cyclist. Layne Staley and Marco Pantani being a prominent example of a reflection in a pond of mental strife. Perhaps something about finding strength – or at least some kind of peace – through suffering is a personality trait that Cycling shares with being an Artist. But sometimes it is much more simple than that. Sometimes, you just want to get psyched to get out and ride. Or to stay in and ride, as the case may be. @blackpooltower lets us in on his own dirty little secret.

Yours in Cycling, Frank

Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee and the other assorted Ramones like Linda (yes, really, I checked) might not look like God’s gift to the performance-minded cyclist, despite Johnny’s quite aero hair, but in fact they’re practically a secret weapon.

I’d love to say that my training is all Man-With-Hammer-seeking epics and Moser hill repeats but frankly I live in central London, an hour from anything resembling countryside so, whisper it, I do also spend some time on the turbo. Filthy habit, I know. Sorry.

Although, you know what? Graeme Obree did a fair bit of indoor training and if it’s good enough for the JK Rowling of cycling (which is to say: made it with no one’s help, on welfare/benefits, therefore a total hero) then it’s good enough for me.

Of course indoor training is a bleak prospect without music. And it can’t just be any music. It has to be the right music.

So, if there wasn’t a band whose entire output was recorded at between 90 and 100 bpm, with irrepressible energy levels and just the right blend of anti establishment individualism (totally fake in Johnny’s case), catchiness and outright dumbness to keep an underperforming wanabe racer spinning those stupid fan blades round for one more effort … you’d have to invent them, no?

But no need. The Ramones, AKA punk rock pot belge, exist. Or at least their music does, and that’s the bit you need.

// La Vie Velominatus // Reverent

  1. Great stuff, punk rock pot belge! I bought Rocket To Russia (vinyl of course) in about 79 or 80, played the shit out of it, then discovered Radio Birdman. Never really went back to the Ramones after that. 77 07

    0
  2. @nobby

    Stiff Little Fingers. And I ain’t talking about my own podgy digits after 90 mins looking at The Sufferefest.

    SLF! Just got a box set of their first five albums. They don’t make music like that these days kids.

    0
  3. @wilburrox more than one way to skin a cat.

    0
  4. Interestingly “a friend of mine” told me that a great song on the big climbs is Twilight Zone by golden Earring is great on the big climbs. But if you need to get a little more specific on BPM try this: http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~davet/music/search/basic.cgi

    0
  5. Think the vocalist in Radio Bird Man needs a good shrink or a bike …

    0
  6. @markb

    I find listening to Blue Monday for 7:30 minutes at 132 bpm pretty well fucks me up. Even worse on a turbo-trainer.

    THIS. Perfect rhythm for a cadence of about 90 in the big ring and the 13-14 sprocket. Add Temptation, Ceremony, Love Will Tear Us Apart to the playlist and go find a long stretch of road.

    0
  7. Dubstep is the ultimate trainer music. There, I said it.

    0
  8. @frank

    @wilburrox more than one way to skin a cat.

    Goes to 11?

    0
  9. Am I the only one left that can get psyched from listening to John Tesh? http://youtu.be/NldWKBEFsnA

    0
  10. Unfortunately I never got the chance to catch the Ramones live – so I did the next best thing – I caught the Perth based Japanese trio Mach Pelican. So much fun: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r6GPpSE0YAY

    0
  11. @The Grande Fondue

    Dubstep is the ultimate trainer music. There, I said it.

    Get out.

    0
  12. @wilburrox Remember that if you’re really going to emulate Johnny, it’s gotta be all down-strokes.

    0
  13. @sthilzy I recognize the Tube Screamers and the Swollen Pickle, but what are the two pedals in the middle?

    0
  14. @frank It just doesn’t get more classic! That’s nice. Very. Complemented w/Tube Screamers and Leo’s G&L. @shilzy Ohhh that’ll go to 11 yes. The list of rock n roll and heavy metal that was made with 80’s 50w JCM Marshall stacks goes on long. Tom Morello’s music with Rage Against the Machine just might be on top of my list. Along with Slash’s classic GnR work. My experience has been that most of those older JCMs when they show up nowadays in guitar stores are just plain beat up. If I stumbled on to a clean half stack like that looking for a new owner I’m guessing the music room would have a new add’n. Very cool. My Marshall set up contrasts big time being an early 70’s 20w lead-bass head coupled with Mesa Boogie 1×12 Thiele EV cab. It’s an unusual combo. Nice and tidy and perfect for home. After the tubes have been cooking for 30 min’s it’ll sing. Regret however that the amp, being all original, as in like everything including wire and solder joints (but not tubes), no surprise, does need some tlc as attenuating the power leads to tube issues. I haven’t been prepared to turn over a classic and original hand wired Marshall head from England to just any amp tech.

    0
  15. @Steampunk >>> music on the bike could be the single most dangerous thing a cyclist does <<< Except, maybe riding at night ? or with your eyes closed? Or drunk ? Or w/o hands on bars ? Or racing a Cat 5 crit ? Just jokes on that one (now, racing with moto’s and team cars in the mix ???) but still… No denying that riding with ear buds is generally not safest way to ride a bike. Agree. And that’s too bad because I do on a rare occasion enjoy it though. Cheers

    0
  16. @sthilzy Yes, it goes all the way up to “Registers on the Richter Scale”! @TMJM

    @sthilzy I recognize the Tube Screamers and the Swollen Pickle, but what are the two pedals in the middle?

    A couple J Rockett Archers. Chris Van Tassel and Jay Rockett were involved in the mythical Klon Centaur pedal design and build this pedal. It’s all hand-wired, and badass as shit. Very similar in function to the Tube Screamer, but it changes the base tone of the amp less, not to mention that they are incredibly harmonic. Fact is, my favorite is to use one Archer and one Tube Screamer together for a really great, growly tube overdrive. @wilburrox

    @frank It just doesn’t get more classic! That’s nice. Very. Complemented w/Tube Screamers and Leo’s G&L. @shilzy Ohhh that’ll go to 11 yes. The list of rock n roll and heavy metal that was made with 80’s 50w JCM Marshall stacks goes on long. Tom Morello’s music with Rage Against the Machine just might be on top of my list. Along with Slash’s classic GnR work. My experience has been that most of those older JCMs when they show up nowadays in guitar stores are just plain beat up. If I stumbled on to a clean half stack like that looking for a new owner I’m guessing the music room would have a new add’n. Very cool. My Marshall set up contrasts big time being an early 70’s 20w lead-bass head coupled with Mesa Boogie 1×12 Thiele EV cab. It’s an unusual combo. Nice and tidy and perfect for home. After the tubes have been cooking for 30 min’s it’ll sing. Regret however that the amp, being all original, as in like everything including wire and solder joints (but not tubes), no surprise, does need some tlc as attenuating the power leads to tube issues. I haven’t been prepared to turn over a classic and original hand wired Marshall head from England to just any amp tech.

    That is a unique setup, although I wish they made the 800’s in a 20W head for some less ear-bleading overdrive. I love using overdrive pedals in pairs as you can see, SRV-style. The two Tube Screamers are both set to pure boost (full level, no gain) and the Archers are a bit different; one is set to about 10% gain and the other to about 30% gain. The head is a ’87 2205, which is possibly the best unmodified head Marshall ever made; it was the first time they added channel so you can have some variation in the tone. I actually have the drive and channel volume high (8ish) which gives some great tube compression and then have the master volume as low as I need to keep the complaints from coming from the neighbors. I love a cleanish tone that breaks up! I wish I could have that as my clean tone a full Marshall gain tone for the second channel but I suppose I could do all that with the OD pedals…

    0
  17. @TMJM

    @wilburrox Remember that if you’re really going to emulate Johnny, it’s gotta be all down-strokes.

    There’s a great quote in this educational video that Tommy Morello did on how to play his songs…at one point he gets into this thing about up and down strokes (or chucks, as he calls them – up-chuck or down-chuck)…so he wants to show the big difference between the sound and demonstrates. Then he finally says, “OK, it sounds the same. You can chuck whichever direction you want.” I have always been a downstroke guy myself.

    0
  18. @frank “Yes, it goes all the way up to “Registers on the Richter Scale”! ” Dan has a scale ?

    0
  19. The Ramones, got to see them in the mid 90’s at a festival. It was about 40 degrees (over 100 to some of you). The leather jackets stayed on and they played about 50 songs in 50 minutes. 1,2,3 – 1 minute song, 1,2,3 – 30 second song, 1,2,3 1.30 minute extravaganza. I don’t remember there being any talking except the song count ins. Awesome. Music on the trainer is interesting, when I’m starting to suffer the earphones come out, it just seems to annoy me. A sure sign I’m approaching the red zone.

    0
  20. @sthilzy

    @frank

    @wilburrox more than one way to skin a cat.

    Goes to 11?

    0
  21. Find this gets the HR going nicely;

    0
  22. Loudness

    0
  23. Also, I listen to Megadeth pretty much exclusively while on the turbo.

    0
  24. @dyalander Saw the Ramones in 92 for the mediocre “Mondo Bizarro” album. Social D opened. Still the best concert I’ve ever been to hands down. Still have the concert tshirt. Gabba Gabba Hey.

    0
  25. Saw the Ramones just the once – a gig called The Longest Day at the disgusting Milton Keynes Bowl in 1986. Line up was Faith Brothers, Billy Bragg, Spear of Destiny, Ramones, REM and U2. All for (in today’s dollars) well under $100. Typical Brit festival: bottles of piss being thrown around and it rained for most of U2’s set. Almost missed my bus home too. Good times. Saw Still Little Fingers once in 1983 – the last show they played at the notorious Glasgow Apollo. Wildly popular in Glasgow they were. Bob Mould (solo) and Husker Du are good for the turbo. Public Service Broadcasting too.

    0
  26. @markb

    I find listening to Blue Monday for 7:30 minutes at 132 bpm pretty well fucks me up. Even worse on a turbo-trainer.

    The Orb’s Blue Room at 40 minutes is a bit like that on the turbo. You either completely zone out and time flies or it stops time completely and take the battery out of your torch when you’re at the very back of the pain cave.

    0
  27. @wiscot Oddly enough the MK Bowl is now a popular race circuit.

    0
  28. @wiscot

    @nobby

    Stiff Little Fingers. And I ain’t talking about my own podgy digits after 90 mins looking at The Sufferefest.

    SLF! Just got a box set of their first five albums. They don’t make music like that these days kids.

    Some of my buds just saw them locally. Fuckers didn’t drop me a line about it and I’m still bitter.

    0
  29. I left my rollers at my parent’s house when I moved 1000 kms south four years ago. Haven’t done any riding indoors since. While I miss winter sports, I don’t miss rollers. As for music…I just realized “Holiday Road” from Vacation is not Kenny Loggins but Buckingham! How have I been going around thinking that for this many years?

    0
  30. @Matt

    @wiscot

    @nobby

    Stiff Little Fingers. And I ain’t talking about my own podgy digits after 90 mins looking at The Sufferefest.

    SLF! Just got a box set of their first five albums. They don’t make music like that these days kids.

    Some of my buds just saw them locally. Fuckers didn’t drop me a line about it and I’m still bitter.

    Not suprised you’re bitter. There should be a law against that sort of shit.

    0
  31. For me, it’s a lot of Between the Buried and Me. Their more recent concept albums tend to clock in around the 70 minute mark, which is just about my tolerance for the rollers. And the albums themselves are incredibly varied, mostly thrash/death metal, with some jazz-flecked interludes for a little break here and there. And the fact that they’re recorded to sound like a single, transitionless track helps me get lost in it.

    0
  32. @wiscot

    Saw the Ramones just the once – a gig called The Longest Day at the disgusting Milton Keynes Bowl in 1986. Line up was Faith Brothers, Billy Bragg, Spear of Destiny, Ramones, REM and U2. All for (in today’s dollars) well under $100. Typical Brit festival: bottles of piss being thrown around and it rained for most of U2’s set. Almost missed my bus home too. Good times. Saw Still Little Fingers once in 1983 – the last show they played at the notorious Glasgow Apollo. Wildly popular in Glasgow they were. Bob Mould (solo) and Husker Du are good for the turbo. Public Service Broadcasting too.

    I was at that gig too;actually every one I went to at MK bowl it pissed it down. The worst events for bottles of piss being thrown was the Monsters of Rock festivals;I ‘may’ have received a direct hit at one of them,,,

    0
  33. Thirty some-odd years have gone by with these albums and each get me amped like I was 13 years old. Although the engine is 130 pounds heavier and well worn, the effect is still the same when I need the boost. Nearly as well a few Sudafed and a doppio macchiato….or so I’m told….. ( walking away whistling) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuqg83BsAX4 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ9cyFnkb38 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAITxlCsj4Y

    0
  34. I think U2 has now sucked for more years than they were good for. Man, they’ve been putting out shitty music for too damn long.

    0
  35. @Ron

    I think U2 has now sucked for more years than they were good for. Man, they’ve been putting out shitty music for too damn long.

    U2 did good stuff?

    0
  36. @chris

    @markb

    I find listening to Blue Monday for 7:30 minutes at 132 bpm pretty well fucks me up. Even worse on a turbo-trainer.

    The Orb’s Blue Room at 40 minutes is a bit like that on the turbo. You either completely zone out and time flies or it stops time completely and take the battery out of your torch when you’re at the very back of the pain cave.

    Apropos of nothing, did you catch the Radio 1 Ibiza Prom – live orchestra playing many favourites from the 90s? Faithless’ Insomnia is particularity hypnotic on a turbo.

    Insomnia
    0
  37. @Daccordi Rider

    @Ron

    I think U2 has now sucked for more years than they were good for. Man, they’ve been putting out shitty music for too damn long.

    U2 did good stuff?

    I could probably name 4 or 5 good U2 songs. All of the rest of their recorded output basically sounds like a bad covers band doing those songs. I may cause ructions saying this, but I feel the same way about the Rolling Stones…

    0
  38. Pearl’s Girl by Underworld from the album “Second toughest in the infants”…great title for an album. If you haven’t heard this track it’s turbo gold

    0
  39. I use an old PRS (’83?) solidbody with a Mesa Boogie tube amp. I’m too old to remember all the settings on my pedals so if I just plug in and turn it up. Playing the Who gets my bpm up, channelling Mr. Townshend.

    0
  40. @Daccordi Rider

    @Ron

    I think U2 has now sucked for more years than they were good for. Man, they’ve been putting out shitty music for too damn long.

    U2 did good stuff?

    Listen to Rattle and Hum and tell me that isn’t the biznitch.

    0
  41. @frank

    @Daccordi Rider

    @Ron

    I think U2 has now sucked for more years than they were good for. Man, they’ve been putting out shitty music for too damn long.

    U2 did good stuff?

    Listen to Rattle and Hum and tell me that isn’t the biznitch.

    Gotta agree, while Bono disappeared up his own ass a long time ago, the band hit their peak with Rattle and Hum (which was really the Joshua Tree album tour made into a doco/live album). They had, dare I say it, a raw energy that was hard to ignore at the time.

    0
  42. @brett

    @frank

    @Daccordi Rider

    @Ron

    I think U2 has now sucked for more years than they were good for. Man, they’ve been putting out shitty music for too damn long.

    U2 did good stuff?

    Listen to Rattle and Hum and tell me that isn’t the biznitch.

    Gotta agree, while Bono disappeared up his own ass a long time ago, the band hit their peak with Rattle and Hum (which was really the Joshua Tree album tour made into a doco/live album). They had, dare I say it, a raw energy that was hard to ignore at the time.

    I’ll pitch in here. U2 are one of those bands I’ve loved/liked for a long time. First saw then in 82 at Tiffany’s in Glasgow. (Pre War tour gig). I remember walking into Listen Records in Renfield Street in Glasgow and hearing Gloria. I had no idea who it was by but just went up and said “i’ll have what was just played.” That was 1981, the year I started a short-lived banking “career.” I loved them then and I’ve seen them a bunch of times over the years in increasingly larger venues. But as we’ve all gotten older the love has waned. I buy their stuff more out of loyalty to an old flame now than genuine excitement (the kind of excitement that gripped me when War and An Unforgettable Fire came out. I got them the very day they were released and listened to them as soon as I got home.) Sure, Bono’s gotten more pretentious over the years and the last few albums have been labored, but I’ll give them until Zooropa and Achtung Baby to be still great. After that, spotty at best. Rattle and Hum is still very watchable today. Most of their recent concert films are unwatchable because of the editing – so friggin choppy it makes your brain hurt.

    0
  43. We can argue about how utterly shit U2 are these days, but they did inadvertently lead to this https://youtu.be/CGrR-7_OBpA

    0
  44. U2 might have been good up to The Unforgeable Fire or there abouts but Bono disapeared so far up his own arse that his presence on the early albums made them unlistenable and therefore as shite as everything they’ve done since.

    0
  45. Rattle and Hum was the sound of them disappearing up their own egos, pre that some stuff was good, never great in my opinion, which is the only one that counts when I play music!

    0
  46. Live at Red Rocks anyone, surely a keeper along with Unforgettable fire and The Joshua Tree. Above were soundtracks to my youth. After that – no so much

    0
  47. earbuds may be out for us ….but I need this rig following me on some hills. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DcqnkzGEFQ concur on all points made on Bono, him and his off colored glasses either need to go back to making some angry assed music or just stop trying to play the professional victim/answer for everything and go the fuck away.

    0
  48. @ped

    We can argue about how utterly shit U2 are these days, but they did inadvertently lead to this https://youtu.be/CGrR-7_OBpA

    YES! And try like hell I’ve never been able to play that like Mr Cash did. And for YEARS I’d tried dammit. I still try! Folks, I don’t care what anyone says but their latest, the freebee that showed up on my iPhone one day, is a DAMN GOOD album. No one plays music every day for decades and some of it doesn’t suck. yea yea yea, so some U2 music sucks. But I gotta say, some of it all is gems beyond gems. My humble opinion but wtf do I know? Cheers all

    0
  49. @ped

    We can argue about how utterly shit U2 are these days, but they did inadvertently lead to this https://youtu.be/CGrR-7_OBpA

    Not to mention some of Negativland’s finest work. https://youtu.be/AVroc7RvNeU

    0
  50. @Frank – I just luuurve JCM800s. I had a master vol 2 x 12, 50W combo back in the day, run into 4 x 12 plexi cab. I was living in (very) Central London at the time with no neighbours (apart from a knocking shop downstairs.) Used to run a long lead from the living room to the kitchen and let the partition wall act as an organic powerbrake. You could hear it from an 4 blocks away – totally freaked out the crowd boozing outside the local downstairs. I’ve always been more nihilistic grunge on the turbo. Numbing, grinding pain tunes. Fortunately not crept into that particular pain cave since the move….

    0

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar